…..the more they don’t always stay the same.
I had an interesting text conversation with the lovely and patient older daughter today while her Dad was getting his implanted IV port installed at the hospital. For years now, she’s been after Will and me to move to Portland for some odd reason, probably because she and her husband love it and want to live there. They love it so much that if the place were ever to need new spokespersons, their faces would be plastered all over the sides of the city buses.
There’s only one problem with this: I HATE Portland. For one thing, I’m a country girl who can’t breathe in a place that’s too noisy, too busy, and too crowded. For another, Portland is an arrogant kind of town which thinks nothing important ever happens outside of it……and if you don’t believe it, just watch their TV news some time. But the thing that will forever condemn the city in my eyes is its politics: Portland is brashly and exuberantly liberal, and it’s loaded with tree-huggers and other ‘progressive’ types whose smug self-righteousness makes me want to knock ’em off their bicycles.
I am not a liberal. I am not an eco-freak. And I am not a city woman who goes shopping in heels and $200 jeans.
So when my daughter brought up the subject again today—and twisted the knife in deeper by suggesting that I move into an independent “senior” living complex (!)—I rebelled outright. I told her that all of my people are here, my job is here, my church is here, my doctors are here……..in other words: “Oh HELL no!!!”
Then she said: “Change is good.”
And I thought about it.
What in the blue-eyed world does this child of mine think I’m going through right now??! I wondered.
Now, if anyone is questioning my true feelings about her, you may rest assured that I believe she has the best of intentions, and I KNOW her heart’s bigger than all outdoors. In fact, I listen to everything she has to say with respect and even a relatively open mind, for she is wise beyond her years in many ways. But at a time when I need the comfort of familiarity most, her asking me to consider a move to a place I don’t like, to live among people I don’t know, seemed rather thoughtless.
And then I thought about it some more. I needed a reason to not be angry with her for bringing this up, and by golly, it didn’t take me long to find one: she doesn’t know that I crave stability because I’m BIPOLAR, for Pete’s sake……”change” is all I’ve ever known.
She also has no idea of how incredibly lucky she is not to have to endure so many upheavals in her quiet adult life. In fact, it speaks well of the world she and her husband have created for their young sons. Her youth should have been so stable……
So I told her that I wouldn’t rule anything out—never say never!—but that I need to be in familiar surroundings throughout this transition from wife to caregiver to whatever lies beyond the cancer treatments. I need to be among the people and places from which I draw whatever strength I have……not cut off from everyone and everything I’ve known for the past twenty-five years.
Dear God, I sound old. I feel old. And if I’m not careful, my kids are going to think I really AM old. Can’t have that…..they just might want to put me in a retirement facility!